Councillors backed a partnership with a specialist firm on Tuesday which is hoped will finally realise long-awaited development of a key town centre site.
Worthing Borough Council will work with London and Continental Railways (LCR) to regenerate the former police station site in Union Place, which the council purchased in January after the previous owner failed to bring a scheme forward.
The publicly-owned firm are specialists in unlocking complex sites and have worked on projects including development at Kings’ Cross and a mixed-use scheme at the gateway to London’s Olympic Park, the joint strategic committee heard on Tuesday.
Council leader Dan Humphreys said: “This is a very exciting time for Worthing. We are on the brink of something really special for our town.”
The council was introduced to LCR by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership after its town centre investment prospectus was identified as ‘very good practice’, councillors heard.
The duo will draw up a land pooling arrangement, which will see LCR purchase the adjoining High Street surface car park. A strategy will be produced to outline how a scheme can be development.
Director for economy Martin Randall said: “We can’t simply sell it on and hope another developer might come along but we know from our research and experience finding a viable development proposal is going to be a challenge.”
It is hoped the approach will deliver a scheme faster than selling the site to another developer.
David Joy, chief executive of LCR, said: “We are delighted to be working with Worthing Borough Council to take forward plans for Union Place, a major town centre site for Worthing. The land pooling arrangement is the culmination of many months of hard work and will enable the council and LCR to join forces to provide the best opportunity to achieve a success redevelopment of the site.
“LCR is working with a number of local authorities across the country as part of a wider remit to support the Government’s delivery of homes, jobs and growth.
“Our partnership with Worthing will enable the Council to harness LCR’s significant commercial and development expertise which, along with the council’s experience and local knowledge, will allow for an innovative approach to unlocking the site after more than a decade of dereliction and inject some pace behind the redevelopment to maximise the benefits for the local economy.
“We look forward to continuing to progress this strategically important project and to potential future opportunities with the Council and others.”